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How to connect to your router to change settings

Need to change some settings in your wireless router? If you can’t access – or the IP address your router uses – here’s how to get connected.

These days it’s much easier to set up a new broadband router. They all come with Wi-Fi enabled and secured. Typically you’ll find the Wi-Fi password on a label stuck to the router, and it may even show the user name and password and default IP address. See all router reviews

It’s trickier for older routers, especially if someone has changed the IP address, password or you’ve simply forgotten the details.

How to access your router settings page

1. If you can’t access your router via Wi-Fi, connect an Ethernet cable between your router and your PC or laptop. We’re using Windows 8 here, but the process is similar for Windows 7 and Vista.

2. Bring up a command prompt by typing ‘command’ in the Start menu search box (or Windows 8 Start screen) and choosing Command Prompt.

3. Type ipconfig and press Enter. You will see a list of the network adapters in your PC. Look through the information to find the number next to Default gateway. This is the IP address of your router.

How to connect to your router - can't access

4. Open a web browser and type this number – in this case – into the address bar, then press Enter. (Don’t add http:// before the IP address. You should now see the login screen for your router.

How to connect to your router - can't access

5. If you don’t see the login screen, it could be because the gateway IP address has been manually entered under your network adapter settings.

To check, open Control Panel and search for ‘network’. Click on View Network Connections under Network and Sharing Center.

Right-click on the Ethernet adapter and choose Properties. Then scroll down the list to find Internet Protocol Version 4. Click on it and then click the Properties button. Make sure Obtain an IP address automatically is selected, and also Obtain DNS server address automatically.

How to connect to your router - can't access

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to see if this has fixed the problem.

6. If you’ve forgotten your router’s username and password, you’ll need to reset it to factory settings. This is usually achieved by pressing a button or inserting a paper clip or pin into a reset hole. Check your manual to find out how long to hold the button for in order to reset it. The router will need to be connected to the mains and turned on in order for this to work, of course.

After resetting your router you can follow the earlier steps to connect to the router’s management interface.

7. If your reason for accessing your router’s settings was to configure a Wi-Fi network, you can now do so. It’s worth changing the Wi-Fi network name to something memorable, but it’s most important to set a password. If possible, choose WPA2 security rather than WEP. While you’re at it, change the default router password to prevent anyone else accessing your router’s settings. Stick a label on the router so you won’t forget the IP address, Wi-FI password and router username and password.

If you’re still having no joy connecting to your router, make sure any software firewalls are disabled. These might be part of your Internet Security Suite, or a standalone application such as ZoneAlarm. Temporarily disable these to see if they are causing the problem. Windows’ built-in firewall shouldn’t cause a problem.

Check also for other software such as parental control applications which may prevent you from accessing certain websites – a router’s settings interface is just a website. There could also be settings within your web browser which are causing a problem, so try a different browser to eliminate this as an issue.

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